CAREC Think Tank Network

The CAREC Think Tanks Network (CTTN)


Leading think tanks from the CAREC member countries agreed to establish the CAREC Think Tanks Network (CTTN) during the second CAREC Think Tanks Development Forum (CTTDF) in Urumqi, People’s Republic of China (PRC), in 2017 to provide innovative solutions for promoting economic cooperation by recognizing importance of regional perspectives.

The “Urumqi Declaration” became the founding document of the CTTN. As of now, numerous prominent think tanks and universities representatives from 11 countries of the CAREC region are members. The CTTN promotes the regional economic cooperation by enhancing systemic regional knowledge sharing and integration; fostering policy research and knowledge solutions to support governments; enabling better policy advice; reducing gaps between research and policy; and enhancing collective intelligence to consolidate development resources for effective cooperation, better services, and improved performance.

The CTTDF is organized annually under the auspices of the CTTN. From a modest beginning, the CTTDF has grown in size and appeal. The forum has become an attractive destination for think tanks, academia, and governments from the CAREC region and beyond to exchange views and knowledge on evolving regional and global policy challenges.

The CAREC Institute hosted the first CTTDF in June 2016 in Astana, Kazakhstan, with the theme of “Promoting Economic Cooperation for an Integrated Central Asia.” The second CTTDF was held in Urumqi, PRC, in September 2017 with the theme of “Exploring Knowledge Solutions for Regional Cooperation and Integration.” The third forum was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in July 2018 under the theme of “Building Knowledge Corridors along the Silk Road.”

The previous three forums offered a platform for diverse stakeholders to debate critical issues focused around regional economic cooperation and integration.

The CAREC Institute organized the fourth forum with the topic of “Trading for Shared Prosperity” to convene around 130 participants from think tanks, academia, private sector, and governments on 27-28 August 2019 in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province of the PRC to deliberate on trade expansion from increased market access, greater diversification, and stronger institutions for trade under the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 in the context of heightened US-PRC trade tensions and expansion of disruptive technologies.

The outcomes of the forum will be discussed in future CAREC inter-governmental platforms.

Visiting Fellowship Program

Under the CAREC Think Tanks Network (CTTN), the CAREC Institute and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced launch of a three-month long Visiting Fellowship Program at the CAREC Institute in Urumqi, PRC, to foster a research environment and deliver new insights on topics that promote regional integration and cooperation in CAREC, particularly as anticipated in the CAREC 2030 strategy and stated operational priorities including (i) economic and financial stability; (ii) trade, tourism, and economic corridors; (iii) infrastructure and economic connectivity; (iv) agriculture and water; and (v) human development.

Positive spillover effects of proposed policies should guide the selection of research proposals, including, where possible, a history of policy interventions and adjustments that have shown limited results, but have the possibility of policy changes, innovations, reversals, and readjustments. A research that has clear cross-border dimensions and overt policy prescriptions to promote regional integration, and which showcases comparative perspectives on regional integration efforts to provide policy lessons will be given an advantage.

Fellows will be selected from all member countries of ADB, particularly those who have an interest in comparative inter- and intra-regional studies. More on the application process here.

Research Grants Program

In 2019, the CAREC Institute launched its Research Grants Program to support scholars and researchers from members of the CAREC Think Tanks Network (CTTN) to produce targeted knowledge products which will add to the body of knowledge on regional cooperation in CAREC.

Scholars from member Think Tanks are encouraged to research CAREC integration topics and undertake comparative analysis between (sub) regions to draw lessons for promoting and deepening regional integration among CAREC member countries.

The 2019 grants have been awarded to five researchers who presented their preliminary findings during the August 2019 Think Tanks Forum. The topics included:

 Assessing participation of CAREC countries in global and regional value chains
 Study of cross-border tourism value chains between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan
 The impact of sanitary, phytosanitary, and quality-related standards on the trade flow between CAREC countries and Georgia
 Opportunities and challenges for agri-food trade between Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan
 Building bankable and viable regional cooperation programs based on trust

CTTN Talk Series

The CAREC Institute plans to launch the CTTN Talk Series where different CTTN members will be invited to Urumqi to showcase their research findings, answer pertinent questions emerging from the Institute’s knowledge sharing and networking activities, draw parallels, and contribute value-added research products to the existing body of knowledge.

Contact of the CTTN Secretariat

Mr. Khalid Umar
Head of Strategic Planning
Coordinator of the Think Tanks Development Forum
+86 991 8891018